Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stephens Proposal for Ward 6 ANCs

Rob Stephens, a resident of Rosedale, has requested that the W6TF publish the following Ward 6 ANC proposal for comment and discussion. Mr. Stephens is NOT a member of the Ward 6 Task Force, and the Task Force has not made decisions about ANC boundaries. This proposal is presented for discussion.

The populations and suggested number of commissioners are:

ANC 6A, in orange: 18,111 (9 Commissioners)
ANC 6B, in light blue: 20,217 (10 Commissioners)
ANC 6C, in green: 11,140 (5 Commissioners)
ANC 6D, in dark blue: 14,359 (7 Commissioners)
ANC 6E, in red: 14,185 (7 Commissioners)

Mr Stephens says:

"I offer the Status Quo Plus Version 1 option for those who believe and want to minimize changes to existing ANCs, for those who prioritize an ANC map that will stimulate economic and racial integration in W6 and for those who are concerned about the potential adverse impact of more dramatic changes such as those proposed by the Ronneberg/H St Proposal. The challenge of business licensing on H St should be addressed by new and improved intra-ANC coordination rather than by dramatically changing the ANC map in W6."

"If having ANCs that do not have dramatic population differences is a priority for the W6TF, then a Status Quo Version 2 could be produced that tinkers with this map by adding more residents to the smallest ANC (i.e. ANC 6C) from one or more of the following ANCs: 6B (the largest ANC), 6A and/or 6E. ANC 6A should, however, have enough of a population buffer in case Kingman Park (pop 1,774) is not allowed to join a Ward 6 ANC. "


  1. Rob,

    I commend you for taking the time to come up with an alternative proposal. Your proposal does accomplish the its primary goal of keeping Rosedale and Hill East part of ANC 6A and Hill East part of 6B.

    However, there are some significant problems. First, it is mathematically impossible to get 11,054 people (ANC 6C) into 5 SMDs that have populations between 1900 and 2100.

    Second, you have created a 6B Commission that is twice as big as the 6C Commission, which doesn't align with the task force's desire to make the ANCs have a similar number of Commissioners.

    Finally, as it is clear that creating ANCs that do not have dramatically populations differences is a task force priority, I strongly encourage you to draft a Status Quo Version 2 that keeps all the ANC between 7 and 9 commissioners. The elephant in the room is that 6C will have to gain population and 6B will have to lose population --which means moving Eastern Market into 6C. If you have 5 ANCs with 7-9 commissioners each, there is no "Status Quo" solution.

  2. Has the task force set the priorities that Commisioner Ronneberg is referring to above? If priorities have been established, I would love to know what they might be.

    Thanks Rob for doing this. I agree that ideally the ANCs would be more equal in population, but I am also concerned about splitting cohesive neighborhoods and I am not sure which should be prioritized.

  3. Laura:

    Thanks. Per my comments and proposals, my preference is for a new ANC map that minimizes changes to current ANC and SMD borders.

    Re. priorities -- I can't speak for the W6TF, though I suspect Drew is referring to the guidance the Council gave all Ward Redistricting Task Forces based on DC Law which basically states ANC population sizes need to be within +/-5% of the median (see the council letter to the W6TF in the filing cabinet or google DC redistricting law).

    I would welcome W6TF leaders to tell us whether the following is correct in terms of ANC target sizes:

    Assuming the new W6 population is 78,012 and we add 1,772 from Kingman park, the total population of W6+7D01 is than = 79,784.

    Under DC law then the median size of each new ANC needs to be within +/-5% of 15,602 if we don't include Kingman Park or +/-5% of 15,957 if we add Kingman Park.

    Hence if we don't include Kingman Park, the smallest ANC must roughly be no smaller than 14,822 nor larger than 16,383.

    If we include Kingman Park, the smallest ANC must roughly be no smaller than 15,159 nor larger than 16,755.

    I think we have some wiggle room around the lower and upper limits, but not much especially if we don't want Mendelson or others from the Council from intervenning in redrawing the maps as they wish as oppossed to what our W6TF recommends. Remember the council needs to approve the recommendations of W6TF.

  4. Drew:

    Let's see how our W6TF friends respond to my rough calculations regarding the minimum and maximum size of the ANCs per DC law. That will give all of us a clear target to aim for re. ANC size.

    I agree, the Status Quo Plus Version 1 will need to be modified to pass legal muster. If my estimates are correct, the same is the case with your proposal as several ANC fall above or below the +/- goal.

    What I think is useful is for W6TF and our neighbors to see a debate over competing priorities. The Status Quo Plus provides one benchmark option that places minimizing ANC border changes as the top priority and arguably promoting income and racial integration as well as economic integration as secondary goals. Other proposals, such as yours prioritize other legitimate goals.

    How would you define the single top priority as well as secondary goals of your proposal? My impression is that it prioritizes unifying H St as a primary goal. However, I should first let you spell that out. Again, I know you are truly committed to improving W6.

  5. Laura, the W6TF has not established any priorities for Ward 6 redistricting. We will do that after all the listening sessions at our August 3rd meeting. At various listening meetings, many have offered comments on ANC "sizing" to include some of the task force members. But, all that has been discussion only. Regards, Joe Fengler

  6. Rob,

    Single Member Districts (SMDs) need to have between 1900 and 2100 people. On the other hand, there is no limit on the number of SMDs in ANC. There is an ANC in DC with 2 SMDs and others with 12. The issue I pointed out with 6C is that if it has 5 SMDs, the max population would be 10,500. If it has 6 SMDs, the minimum population would be 11,400. Your proposal has a population of 11,140. I am not aware of similar issue in the proposal I put forward, but if there is one, please let me know.

    In the two meetings I attended, the task force spoke of the fact that the ANCs were funded based on population and that

    1) An ANC with only 5 commissioners would be financially disadvantaged because there fixed expenses that all ANCs share. The discussion strongly indicated that the taskforce believes that an ANC with 5 commissioners is not viable.

    2) That ANCs should have similar numbers of Commissioners. I revised my original proposal to make sure that 6D had 7 commissioners and that all ANCs had between 7 and 9 commissioners.

    The guiding principles in my redistricting proposal are

    1) Creating 5 ANCs each with 7-9 commissioners.
    2) Keeping Commercial Corridors/focuses of redevelopment under a single ANC. The reasons for this were elaborated in

    I agree that a debate on priorities is useful but it is also important to make a viable proposal that meets the SMD population requirements.

    If you believe that having rough parity in the number of SMDs is not a priority please explain why. If you think that such a goal is important, please develop a redistricting proposal that incorporates that priority rather than making general statements about how it could be accomplished. As I mentioned earlier, I think you will find some devils in the details.

    Finally, I would like to mention that I greatly appreciate your engagement and civility in this discussion.

  7. I do not really understand what it might mean for Kingman Park to participate in a Ward 6 ANC. I think it is clearly the most logical partnering for the residents in Kingman Park to work with the neighbors to our west and south on local business licenses, transportation issues, facility and resource sharing, maintenance and all the basic issues of daily life. Will our excellent ANC Lisa White actually have a vote in any of the Ward 6 ANC meetings? Will we be required to attend two monthly ANC meetings? If a business wants a license in Kingman Park will they need to apply at both ANCs for "great weight" letters?

    The lives of residents to our west and south are intertwined in some very important ways. Cooperation on Rosedale Community Center, traffic issues along C Street, land use along the Anacostia, community gardens, shared police officers, and a desire to see Cafe Roma back in business, to name a few. Whatever can facilitate this team building in the most efficient and productive way would be my vote.

    Thank you
    Mindy Mitchell
    SMD7D01 Resident

  8. Drew:

    I suggest we first hear back from W6TF members re. the DC law requirements re. ANC size (i.e. within =/-5% of the median). I advise they first check with Wells to get clearer guidance and if need be they ask legal guidance from the appropriate folks on the council/city. As with the redistricting debate it is important to always refer back to the law and not someone's interpretation (even a guidance letter as provided to the W6TF).

    The guidance letter provided to W6TF by the Wells/Council is a little confusing in my mind in its rephrasing of DC redistricting law. The law seems clear to me -- the +/-5% requirement applies to BOTH the size of ANCs and SMDs. Which means ANCs first need to be designed to meet the =/-5% deviation from mean requirement, and then the SMDs are draw using the same requirement. Yes, the guidance letter provides the 1,900 to 2,100 range for SMDs, but it failed to provide similar guidance for the ANCs, which is understandable since the W6TF is free to determine the number of ANCs per Ward though in our case I think most of us agree 5 ANCs make sense though we could also have 4 or 6.

    If I am correct re. the law and since we both agree that 5 ANCs make sense, then both your and my proposal would need to be modified to meet the +/-5% requirement.

    I will gladly come up with a revised version once we hear back from W6TF with a firm and clear response re. the legal requirements on maximum and minimum W6 ANC size if we go with 5 ANCs.


  9. To answer Mindy's questions, if Kingman Park participated in a Ward 6 ANC, then our wonderful Commissioner, Lisa White, would be a voting member of that ANC (let's call it "6A"). Lisa would also be eligible to become chair of ANC 6A. Businesses in Kingman Park would only have to go to 6A for issues that are handled by an ANC. We would only attend one ANC meeting, though obviously you are free to attend as many meetings as you want.

    For issues that are normally dealt with by a Councilmember, we would still got to the Ward 7 Councilmember. We would also vote in Ward 7 elections -- not Ward 6 elections -- when it came to Council votes.

  10. All discussions have been up to now that the plus-or-minus-five-percent is just a guideline, not written law. SMDs are not legally required to be of any size, but any unusually sized SMD needs to have a pretty strong justification.

  11. Elizabeth NelsonJuly 29, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I understand Commissioner Ronneberg's stated concerns about funding parity but it is far more important that individual citizens feel the boundaries of "their" ANCs coincide with their sense of community.
    Individuals should, to the greatest extent possible, have an opportunity (through their elected representatives) to provide input on issues that affect them. The advantage to the Stephens proposal over the Ronneberg proposal is that most of the residents of the current 6A, 6B and 6C (leaving out the boundary between 6B and 6D) would be correctly aligned in this respect.
    Six of the eight commissioners of ANC 6A (including Ronneberg) voted to request the inclusion of Kingman Park into a Ward 6 ANC. The reasons given for this were Kingman Park's shared (with ANC 6A) interest in H Street NE development and transportation issues along the C Street NE corridor. This is inconsistent with the Ronneberg plan, which would move the current SMD 6A07 and SMD 6A08 (as well as portions of SMD 6A04) into a new ANC without jurisdiction over H Street and would divide the focus on the C Street corridor.
    It is true, as Commissioner Ronneberg states, that the Stephens plan does not bring the entire length of H Street into a single ANC. However, any plan to unite all of H Street NE into a single ANC would either create a very large ANC or have the unintended consequence of disenfranchising a very large number of people with a legitimate interest in its future. Also, I remain unconvinced that it is inherently undesirable to have H Street split. In my experience, diversity of opinion has benefits.

  12. Drew:

    1. Re. funding of ANCs: I attended one meeting and what I recall hearing re. funding was the exact opposite --i.e. that ANC funding is not determined by population. Then again I am hard of hearing. In any case, the funding issue is at best a secondary if not tertiary issue since the primary issue is to comply with DC law and the the guidance given to W6TF by Wells/Council. See next point.

    2. Bullet point C of the guidance letter seems to state (it is not very well drafted as it is literally taken the poorly drafted DC redistricting law) that ANCs must be within +/- 5% of the median ANC. I take this to mean that the median ANC size is the Ward size divided by the number of ANCs we decide on. If we go for 5 ANCs and we include Kingman Park, then each ANC must be within +/-5% of 79,784/5 = 15,957.

    3. I would much prefer not to be bound by the +/-5% rule and create ANCs that first meet certain goals and not some numerical target. However, redistricting is in large measure a numbers game. I am hoping to hear from Joe or the W6TF with firmer feedback from them based on their consultation with Wells and/or council legal staffers responsible for this issue.

  13. Dear Ms. Nelson,

    Do you really need to inject strident rhetoric and ad hominem attacks into what has otherwise been a civil discussion? Can you please save your hyperbole about "disenfranchisement" for Frozentropics and dial your rhetoric back 5 or 6 notches here? That would be much appreciated.